Justice: Do Not Steal

Posted Oct 12, 2019

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This week's Small Group Guide is composed of questions from this week's GPS Guide. The questions relate to the Scripture for that particular day. You can download the full week's GPS as a printable document for the context of each question below (in the printable version, the recommended small group questions are marked with a special bullet point.)

From Tuesday's Reading: Proverbs 22:22-23, 30:7-9

Proverbs 30, attributed to an otherwise unknown person named Agur, challenged a belief that may have been as common in Biblical times as it remains today. It’s the idea that stealing is okay if a poor person steals from a person or company richer than they are. Agur didn’t see it that way. He said that even if he stole because he was poor, that would dishonor God’s name. Do you agree or disagree? Think through your reasons.

From Wednesday's Reading: Isaiah 10:1-2

Scholar John Goldingay rendered Isaiah 10:1 in a more modern way than “Doom” by writing, “Hey, you who inscribe wicked statutes.”* Isaiah 5:8-10 said one abuse (surely not the only one) involved the wealthy taking land from the poor to create large estates, when land was one of the only stable possessions a family could have. What legal practices that burden today’s needy do you think Isaiah might challenge as “harmful laws”?

From Thursday's Reading: Matthew 19:16-22, Luke 19:1-10

John Wesley, Methodism’s founder, stated his grasp of Jesus' teaching in his sermon “The Use of Money.” He condensed it to three rules: gain all you can, save all you can, and give all you can. He added that the first two rules were futile unless the third was followed.** How highly do you rank giving in your personal values as compared to gaining and saving? What changes might it take to make you more like Zacchaeus than the wealthy young man who “went away saddened” from Jesus?

From Friday's Reading: Ephesians 4:20-28

Beyond the specific counsel to thieves, this passage reminds all of us of the life-changing impact of a commitment to follow Jesus. “Change the former way of life that was part of the person you once were… clothe yourself with the new person created according to God’s image in justice and true holiness” (verses 22-24). What are the biggest changes following Jesus has brought in your life? What are one or two changes that you are still working with God to make?

* John Goldingay, Isaiah for Everyone. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2015, p. 42.

** Click here to read Wesley’s full sermon #50, “The Use of Money.” In it, you’ll find that Wesley qualified “gain all you can” by stressing that he meant that only about honest, ethical pursuits.

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Whether you’re just starting to explore the Christian faith, or you’re a long-time Christian, we want to do everything we can to help you on your journey to know, love and serve God. The GPS (Grow, Pray, Study) Guide provides Scripture and insights to enhance your journey. If you have a question or comment about the GPS Guide, please send it to GPS@cor.org.